Balat
River & Harbor Cruises

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Our most recommended Balat River & Harbor Cruises

Bosphorus Boat Cruise & Two Continents Tour with Lunch

1. Bosphorus Boat Cruise & Two Continents Tour with Lunch

From the Golden Horn to the arm of the Boshorous you will experience the beautiful sights of the historical peninsula which separates the old and new parts of Istanbul. You will be a part of history as you take an in-depth look at the residential areas for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders and other non-Muslim minorities. Get a true sense of the history behind the Balat and the Metal Church. Stop at the sights of St. Stephen the Bulgarian, and get a glimpse of what life was really like at the Jewish Hospital. You can take a break from the historic sights by taking a stroll along the Byzantine City Walls. Another charming feature of the tour is the array of colorful shops that you will see at the Spice Bazaar. We'll make a stop at the stalls selling fruits, vegetables and flowers. After enjoying the variety of shops, the tour takes you to the Bosphorus Cruise and through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia. Marble palaces, ancient wooden villas and the sights of the luxurious residential apartments provide the perfect photo opportunity. From here it is on to Rumell Fortress by boat, where the historical armament can be viewed clearly from the boat. The armament is a unique example of military architecture, and was built by the conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. If time permits, the tour will also take you on to visit a leather showroom. Lunch. Tell your friends you’ve been to Asia and Europe in one day by joining us on a guided tour of Istanbul’s most historic sites. Led by an expert guide, you’ll visit the impressive Dolmabahçe Palace, the official home of Ottoman Sultans. Built by two famous Ottoman architects, the palace houses a museum-worthy collection of European furniture, art and antiquities. Then it’s off to the Bosphorus Bridge, which straddles the narrow waterway that separates Europe and Asia. Once you’ve crossed the bridge it’s time to head to Camlica HIll, which offers dramatic, panoramic views of the city from almost 300 meters above sea level. Please note, on Mondays and Thursdays the palace is closed, so the tour will make three different stops: Eyüp Sultan Mosque and Tomb, Pierre Loti Coffee House and Miniatürk park.

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Istanbul: Golden Horn Bike Tour

2. Istanbul: Golden Horn Bike Tour

The perfect way to see the major attractions of Istanbul’s historic peninsula is on a bike tour. You’ll take in the sights, both on and off shore, on this 3.5-hour excursion. Historic Istanbul is situated on a peninsula flanked by water on 3 sides: the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn. It has been the capital of 3 great empires: the Roman, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman. For more than 1,600 years over 120 emperors and sultans ruled the world from Istanbul. No other city in the world can claim such a distinction! The bike route is a moderate one, running along the world’s greatest natural harbor. Take in some of the city's most historical and cultural attractions, as well as some of the best views of the Golden Horn from Pierre Loti Hill. The final part of the ride takes you to the Sutlice, Balat, and Kasimpasa districts, the naval yard, marinas, and more, until you return to the Eminonu district by ferry.

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Istanbul: 6-Hour Byzantine Tour Along the Golden Horn

3. Istanbul: 6-Hour Byzantine Tour Along the Golden Horn

Want to discover the Istanbul of Byzantine Constantinople? Have you finished the famous sites in Sultanahmet and ready to walk in areas where tourists do not go? Then this Byzantine Istanbul (Constantinople) tour along the Golden Horn will be the perfect choice for you. The vastness of the vision and boldness of the design of Byzantine era Constantinople is expressed through the Hagia Sophia located in Sultanahmet but medieval Constantinople around the Golden Horn offers more information. Poke around forgotten corners just over this hauntingly beautiful inlet – the Golden Horn and walk to see Constantinople before the Ottoman Conquest of 1453. Your Byzantine Istanbul Constantinople tour will start with a ferry ride from Eminonu or Karakoy zigzaging both sides of the Golden Horn to end in Ayvansaray. Ayvansaray is where Constantinople officially ended, so you’ll see and walk along the mighty Byzantine walls of Theodosius from the 5th century. Your first visit will be to an extraordinary Greek Orthodox Church – Mary Blachernae. The only church in the whole world where there’s a service on a Friday morning. Built on a sacred water source, the church is a pilgrimage site for the Greek people in Istanbul. Climb the 7th hill of Istanbul as you make your way to one of the oldest Byzantine palaces from the 13th century (Tekfur Sarayi). The highlight of the trip will be the famous Chora, the Byzantine marvel of mosaics and frescoes. Then, walk your way back through Balat which houses one of Istanbul’s surviving mediaeval synagogues and trendiest houses that are now enjoying their second or even third type of use. In Fener, you will see the Greek Orthodox patriarchate housing a column, which is believed to have been used for the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem.

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Istanbul: Morning Bosphorus Cruise

4. Istanbul: Morning Bosphorus Cruise

From the Golden Horn to the arm of the Boshorous you will experience the beautiful sights of the historical peninsula which separates the old and new parts of Istanbul. You will be a part of history as you take an in-depth look at the residential areas for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders and other non-Muslim minorities. Get a true sense of the history behind the Balat and the Metal Church. Stop at the sights of St. Stephen the Bulgarian, and get a glimpse of what life was really like at the Jewish Hospital. You can take a break from the historic sights by taking a stroll along the Byzantine City Walls. Another charming feature of the tour is the array of colorful shops that you will see at the Spice Bazaar. We'll make a stop at the stalls selling fruits, vegetables and flowers. After enjoying the variety of shops, the tour takes you to the Bosphorus Cruise and through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia. Marble palaces, ancient wooden villas and the sights of the luxurious residential apartments provide the perfect photo opportunity. From here it is on to Rumell Fortress by boat, where the historical armament can be viewed clearly from the boat. The armament is a unique example of military architecture, and was built by the conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. If time permits, the tour will also take you on to visit a leather showroom.

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What people are saying about Balat

Overall rating

3.8 / 5

based on 21 reviews

Our guide Mr. Adnan was helpful with historic stories that local people could deliver. This is an exceptional route that we can enjoy Byzantine relics. I had such an unexpected yet wonderful experience. I hope I can actually visit Blachernae Palace when the restoration is complete.

Good value for money

A nice way to spend the day while visiting the city, having a nice cruise and seeing the palace. But in the morning pick up from hotel was 1 hour late....we could have had breakfast instead of waiting...

Changing the visit to the Grand Bazaar for leather garments is a mistake

Good guide but I had to leave Istanbul without knowing the Grand Bazaar, since it was closed and this tour I hired changed it for the other visit mentioned, without any interest.

Perfectly organized - seen a lot

This short trip was perfectly organized. The explanations were mostly bilingual - English and German. Very competent tour guide, who led the group through the program.

fantastic cruise

The negative: the place of lunch and the guide who was not pleasant and took us running.